The breath of the marble: Amendola’s Anthological Exhibition at the Palazzo Buontalenti and the Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi, Pistoia Musei

April 23, 2021

In His Long and Important Career, he Has Been Capable of Catching the Essence of Masterpieces Coming from Different Ages, Styles and Trends, All the Way Up to the Portraits of the Great Contemporary Artists

Two of the Canova's Three Graces are whispering to each other secrets we would like to grasp

Countless are the artistic periods which have turned to Michelangelo in a redefinition of their dreams, aspirations and ways of making art. Aside from the obvious reference to Mannerism, during Romanticism, or later with the informal and pop art, up to Tano Festa and more recently Bill Viola, in the veining of Michelangelo’s marbles it has been searched – and sometimes identified – a way to find oneself and one’s own present, rather than a distant past. Inevitably, when we look at artworks from the past and we expect to seize them with our own eye, yet is the urgency of the masterpiece that models the way we see it. It could be thought, and sometimes it has been so, that the three dimensions of sculpture and the two-dimensional nature of photography, the mobile vision of the first and the static one of the other, are bound to be in conflict. But even if the conflict exists, the sensual contradictions defining it deliver magnificent gifts in return. This can find a confirmation in the beautiful exhibition “Aurelio Amendola: An Anthology. Michelangelo, Burri, Warhol and the Others” (curated by Paola Goretti and Marco Meneguzzo, in Pistoia, on display until the 25th of July).

Amendola bases his expressive technique on a perfect combination between chiaroscuro and details

In his long and important career, Amendola has been capable of catching the essence of masterpieces coming from different ages, styles and trends, as the title of the exhibition also suggests. Facing such a variety of artworks, the artist masters the language of his expressive medium that, in photography, is rather the light than the equipment, the thing that allows him to give back what the image is always trying to replace without ever really succeeding: bodies. Since the challenge, in the difficult relationship between sculpture and photography, is very hard, Amendola seems to base his expressive technique on a perfect combination between chiaroscuro and details: in the first case, the games of lights and shades reestablish all the depth which would otherwise be flattened by the twodimensional nature of the image, while the sculpture’s carnality proves to be intact and even enhanced reemerging from the dark background; in the second case, the segment doesn’t just render the whole thing, but implies, recalls and invites the viewer’s presence, with his specific corporeality, to be part of all of this.

In his works a game of looks made of persuasive sensuality

So, it is a matter of a game of looks made of persuasive sensuality where everything, in gaining its specific weight, turns into something ethereal and the absence becomes presence. But it’s the random component of this presence that suggests what we see has a life of its own: a Michelangelo’s Giuliano de’ Medici that slightly emerges from his niche and seems to be spying on us with severity, two of the three Canova’s Graces whispering secrets we would like to grasp, the light penetrating San Pietro’s windows that enlightens Bernini’s canopy, in an intense and dramatic chiaroscuro which makes us partakers of the Baroque’s religious tension as no schoolbook ever will. When Amendola doesn’t devote himself to the artworks, his portrait artist skills come out. Warhol Burri, Mariano Marini and, as the exhibition title goes, the others: authors who made modern and contemporary art great, resurface in the suspended instant of the photographic image and, thanks to a special care in linking the depicted subject to the themes and techniques of his artworks, the shot gets a philological significance, not only in its academic meaning, but also in the artistic one: not only you can see, touch and feel – but you also breathe the breath of a far from being distant past.

Aurelio Amendola. Un’antologia.

Palazzo Buontalenti
Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi
Curated by
Paola Goretti
Marco Meneguzzo
Until 25/07


The Author

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After deciding, at the age of seven, to become a writer, he spent the next thirty years participating in various editorial activities - as an essayist, translator, critic - but always avoiding that goal he set for himself when he was a child. In the meanwhile, he cultivates his graphomania and collaborates with the IULM University of Milan holding courses in Philosophy of art and Aesthetics. When he is not on the couch with a book in his hand, he is on the road. Indeed he is travelling also when he is on the couch with a book in his hand. Or when he visits an exhibition, or watches a movie. His mind is never present but always wandering.

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